A bill introduced in the House of Representatives this Friday, which proposes funding Medicare reimbursement for Alzheimer’s care planning, received overwhelming bipartisan support from 301 members of the House.
The Health Outcomes, Planning, and Education (HOPE) for Alzheimer’s Act could save more than $690 million in health care costs by providing Medicare coverage for care planning patients diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease and related dementia, which would potentially prevent future hospitalizations and readmission.
“Reimbursement would encourage physicians to diagnose patients and provide them with resources to implement a care plan,” said Robert Egge, chief public policy officer at the Alzheimer’s Association.
According to the Alzheimer’s Association, only 50% of Alzheimer’s patients are diagnosed and of those patients, only 45% are informed of their diagnosis. This is potentially because physicians lack the time and resources to provide information and support services to patients.
A care plan usually provides patients with information on medication compliance, progression of the disease, and long-term care options for the patient and their families.
Egge said care plans can prevent hospitalizations and readmissions because patients understand their long-term options. An estimated 85% of Alzheimer’s patients have another chronic illness so a care plan can also help patients comply with their medications, he said.